Diets High in Sodium Are Really Bad for Americans

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. diets high in sodium are responsible for 33 deaths per 100,000 in the U.S., according to a new scientific study on the health effects of diet.

Diets high in the consumption of red meat played a much smaller risk with less than two deaths attributed per 100,000. But, watch the consumption of hot dogs as diets high in processed meats play a much larger negative role.

The high consumption of sodium was the only dietary risk in the U.S. -- of the 15 measured -- that attributed to higher number of age-standardized deaths since 1990.

One third of the categories are focused on diets too high in unhealthy food group or ingredient while the other ten on low consumption of healthy foods or components.

Diets High in Sodium Are Really Bad for Americans

"While sodium, sugar, and fat have been the focus of diet policy debate in recent years, the assessment shows the leading risk factors resulting in death are diets high in sodium, low in whole grains, low in fruit, low in nuts and seeds, and low in vegetables," said Dr. Ashkan Afshin, lead author on the study and an assistant professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

One positive sign, the U.S. ranks third in the world in diets low in polyunsaturated fatty acids. The next best category for the U.S. is a ranking of 38 out of 195 economies in the consumption of whole grains.

Diets High in Sodium Are Really Bad for Americans

"Of the top 10 dietary factors that cause the highest number of deaths globally, eight of them are related to low intake of healthy foods rather than high intake of unhealthy foods."

Overall, the U.S. ranked 43rd in the world in diet-related deaths with 170.7 per 100,000 -- a six spot improvement from its global ranking in 1990. The U.S. stilled lagged far behind in many of the 15 categories assessed, including ranking last in the world in diets high in processed meat.

Diets High in Sodium Are Really Bad for Americans

Deaths attributable to high sodium intake dragged the U.S. down 33 spots from its 1990 ranking to No. 62 in the world in 2017.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.